Experience Marketing

Case 1:

When Virgin opened in New York a block away from one of Sony\'s CD stores, it offered CDs at a 12% discount. Hit in the bottom line, the Sony store decided to fight back by thinking laterally. It set up a multimedia booth which played not only whatever music people wanted to hear, but also suggests other choices. It was very interactive. So people ended up paying 12% more for the CDs just for the fun of the experience.

Case 2:

Johnson & Johnsonís launched its pain relief product ĎTylenol 8 Hourí in partnership with US gym chain Bally Total Fitness. The company developed six training programmes inspired by high-performance sport, sponsored the New York marathon and organized "paint the gym red" events. A tie-in with the National Trainers Association provided a nontraditional distribution channel. The product turned out to be Johnson & Johnsonís biggest product in 20 years.

Customers are every companyís most valuable asset. Companies need to retain existing customers and to attract new ones in order to survive and grow. Companies of all kinds claim to recognize that their customers are important. But what kind of experience are they providing for customers with their products, their services, their communications, and their interactions? How are customers really being treated? The answer is often "badly," despite all the protestations to the contrary. Some examples for the same could be waiting in lines in supermarkets or on the phone, products that are perfect for someone elseís lifestyle or work environment, but never ours, unusable web sites, uninspiring ad campaigns, or unresponsive customer service etc. The list is endless.

In both the above cases, what was the common link which led to success and/or thwarting of a potential threat from a competitor? The company provided the customer an experience which differentiated the offering from the competing alternative. In Tylenolís case, the company made the customer feel that the makers of Tylenol care about the sport and development, about her experience of sport, rather than merely flogging the product. The idea was to place the product at the "point of pain", where it would be most relevant to users.

This is Experience Marketing - a new paradigm in the field of marketing which has the potential to change the marketing landscape for ever and for the better.

In this paper, we will try to comprehend the concept and philosophy of Experience marketing. We will analyze the gaps in traditional marketing due to which the need for experience marketing arose and also have a look at some more path breaking success stories. The final section deals with the strategy which the marketers need to adopt for providing consumers with an engaging and memorable experience.